Here’s a not-so-shocking statistic: research has shown that increased workload is the number one cause of workplace stress. Along with triggering harmful and potentially fatal health effects, too much stress tanks motivation, stifles focus, and kills morale — all of which inevitably impact performance, productivity, and the bottom line.
That’s why proper workload management is so important. In today’s post, we’re talking about the best ways to manage employee workloads and eliminate as much work-related stress as possible, so that your staff members can consistently produce their highest-quality work.
Workload management tips to boost productivity
Contrary to conventional wisdom, working longer hours does not necessarily lead to increased productivity; in fact, it tends to have the opposite effect, as stress and sleep deprivation can quickly lead to mental fatigue and burnout.
If you've noticed your teams' mood being consistently low (tip: you can keep an eye on this with a Niko-Niko calendar template), it may be time to investigate if burnout is an issue with your teams' workload.
When workloads are managed correctly and deadlines are reasonable, employees will enjoy a better work-life balance and be able to perform at their fullest capacity. The good news is that, with a little planning and preparation, you can help your team achieve optimal workloads and reduce stress.
Here are our top four workload management tips:
- Determine capacity levels
- Divide work between staff
- Adjust assignments and be flexible
- Use the right workload management tools
Now, let’s take a closer look at each one.
Determine capacity levels
The first step toward better workload management is capacity planning. The ideal scenario is organizing a project’s schedule so that every member of the team achieves their maximum output capacity and the project gets completed as quickly as possible. However, it’s a fine line between running at max capacity and being overburdened, which is why capacity planning is so critical.
One tool that can greatly help with capacity resource planning is a work breakdown structure or WBS. A WBS allows you to see exactly what work can be done simultaneously by members of your team and helps you optimize time allocation and productivity. Additionally, finding the project’s critical path can help you identify dependencies and prioritize tasks accordingly. Wrike capacity planning can help with this process.
Find out the differences between capacity planning and resource planning.
Divide work between staff
When it comes to divvying up work among team members, it’s easy to lean on your top performers while underutilizing the less productive bees in the hive. But, this can lead to resentment from those who are pulling more than their fair share and simultaneously cause lower performers to lose interest, leaving the whole team in a production rut. Not only that, but constantly relying on your top talent for the hard assignments means no one else builds competence or confidence in those tasks.
Before you divide the work on your next project, take time to truly assess every member of your team. What are their strengths? What areas could they use some work in? Does this project present any opportunities for them to get some experience in a particular area?
Another good strategy for dividing up work fairly is ensuring every team member understands their roles and responsibilities when it comes to the project. With everyone on the same page assigning tasks becomes much less daunting.
Adjust assignments and be flexible
Of course, every project isn’t going to go perfectly to plan, which is why it’s critical to remain flexible and adjust assignments as needs change. Even if your plan called for a team member to spend some time on a task they’re not as proficient in, a surprise deadline change may require you to quickly pull in your star player for that particular task and bump the other employee to something else. At the end of the day, you want to be as fair as possible — but when priorities suddenly shift, successful project delivery must be the sole focus.
Use the right workload management tools
In addition to honing your workload management skills, the right workload management software can help ensure project work is equitable and balanced between team members.
Wrike makes this simple with its built-in workload view feature, which lets you easily identify exactly how much each worker has on their plate at any given time. Because it’s fully interactive, you can optimize your team’s schedule and move tasks around as needed.
The fact of the matter is that happy, healthy employees are far more valuable than a staff that’s over-worked, burned out, and riddled with stress and anxiety. Properly managing your team members’ workloads help them reach their full potential — and Wrike can make it happen.
Want to see just how easy Wrike makes project management? Register below for a free two-week trial and find out today!